Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright are Elite Pitchers


Before you all give me a big “DUH”, let me explain.

Earlier today, Steve Lombardi posted an interesting piece of research over at baseball-reference.com.   Using ERA+, which takes into consideration runs scored in the home ballpark plus the ERA of the other pitchers in the league, Steve lists the top pitchers since 2005.  Note that a higher ERA+ number is better, unlike the real ERA.    The list is fascinating and it helps put a few pitcher’s careers in perspective.   As you glance down the list, a few names might surprise you (Roy Oswalt – wish the Cardinals had picked him up last season).   A few will certainly make you grrrrrr (Dan Haren – yeah, that Mark Mulder trade just keeps on giving).   And like him or not, Carlos Zambrano is among the top pitchers.

What you will not find are the names Chris Carpenter or Adam Wainwright.   The highest rated Cardinal pitchers were Jason Marquis and Jeff Suppan.   Steve’s cutoff was 1,000 innings pitched and neither Carpenter nor Wainwright met that criteria.   Let’s do our own research and see how far they missed, and where they might have finished had they made it.

Pitcher W L W-L% ERA GS CG SHO SV IP ERA+ WHIP
Chris Carpenter 69 28 .711 2.88 132 16 8 0 912 1/3 145 1.088
Adam Wainwright 66 35 .653 2.97 119 8 2 3 874 1/3 140 1.202

The 21 1/3 innings Carpenter could only manage in 2007 and 2008 combined kept him off the list.   Even missing most of 2 years, Carpenter almost logged enough innings to qualify.   If he did, his 145 ERA+ would have put him in 3rd place, just 1 behind Johan Santana at 146.

Adam Wainwright only got a tiny look in 2005 and spent his 2006 season in the bullpen.   Had he not missed 14 or more starts in 2008, he might have been able to accumulate enough innings to make the list.  If he had, his 140 ERA+ would put him right there behind Chris Carpenter and well ahead of the next pitcher on the list, CC Sabathia at 133.

I know that this falls into the category of “tell me something I don’t already know”, but now you have one more piece of data to support the claim that we in Cardinals Nation are fortunate because we get to enjoy watching two of the best pitchers in the game.

If you want to see the complete line on Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright to compare to the others on Steve’s list, click the links in the table.   That will take you right to the summary data.

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